Teens find niche volunteering at Senior Center

SHERIDAN — Somewhere between wanting to play the games in elementary school and not old enough to work or drive, presents a challenge for middle school and younger high school students.

Two young ladies found a positive use of this time in their lives to help make the Senior Center the vibrant, active place it is.

Gabbie Moore and Katelynn Brooks were 13 years old when they began volunteering at the Sheridan Senior Center. Initially they volunteered to meet the required 10 hours of volunteering for the National Junior Honor Society.

Two years later, they continue to volunteer on Sundays at the center when they are not busy with school events.

Moore and Brooks serve in the Senior Center dining room assisting with beverages, carrying trays, washing tables and what they enjoy most: visiting.

Moore thanks the folks at the Senior Center for being so supportive, welcoming and nice.

“Getting to see and talk with them (Senior Center patrons), puts a smile on my face — that is just amazing!” Moore said when asked why she volunteers at the Senior Center.

When asked what she would like to share with youth her age, Moore said, “Volunteering helps you connect with different people you wouldn’t get the opportunity to get to know. Relating to elders and a different group of friends, that is when you really develop as a person.”

“You feel happy when you walk in the door,” Moore said. “This a great place and people are here because they want to be. The people’s great attitudes make it an enjoyable place. They are so kind to us.”

“It has been a wonderful opportunity and something I look forward to during the week,” Brooks said. “I enjoy spending time with the people, learning about their lives. And people like Helen Jordan are funny and make me laugh.”

She added she is bummed she can’t spend more time at the Senior Center because she is so busy with school activities.

Moore and Brooks also volunteer throughout the community. For the past two years Moore has coached soccer at the YMCA with her dad for Itty Bitty soccer and a junior high team. Brooks has taught preschool Sunday school classes and babysits at her church and for the past five years has helped with the Hoop Jam.

“This has been a good opportunity for Katelynn as she enjoys volunteering and it has provided her good experience,” Brook’s mother, Jeannie Brooks said.

Senior Center volunteers Pam Stevenson and Barb Whiteman said Moore and Brooks are wonderful, sweet girls.

“The girls are really wonderful to work with,” Senior Center volunteer Helen Jordan said.

Jordan said she misses the two volunteers when they are not at the Senior Center.

“The girls are marvelous and don’t need to be told what to do,” Senior Center volunteer Ed Poll said. “They get right in there and get the job done with a great attitude and pleasant smiles.”

Both Moore and Brooks plan to continue volunteering at the Senior Center during the summer on Sundays.

They are humble and do not volunteer for the accolades: they volunteer for the joy of helping others.

Nancy McKenzie is with the Sheridan Senior Center.


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